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Quote (Poem) for the Day : The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Rumi

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Things I Need to Achieve on My Holiday (It’s a Long List…and a Short Holiday)

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I wrote the following just before I went on leave last month :

…I have some leave coming up very shortly and it feels like it’s been a long time coming.  Well, it has.  I haven’t had a break for over a year.  And I’m a bit tired and over everything so I need to have some time off.  This is difficult because I don’t have anyone to cover me at my job.  It’s a drama getting one day off for illness, let alone a full fortnight of annual leave.  Luckily, an ex co-worker has agreed to come back and babysit the library for me while I am away.  Hooray!

14 days is not a lot of time to achieve a great deal.  But, of course, I have many plans for the time and am hoping that I will succeed in achieving at least half of my goals.  Ok, maybe a quarter.  Five things.  Look, at least one of the things on my list, ok?

Ideally, I would like to lose 10 pounds, become super fit and healthy, decorate my entire house, create a fabulous garden, write a business plan, organise my life and secure my financial future, all in the space of two weeks.  But, unless I also turn into someone else in that time, these things are possibly not really realistic.  So, I am aiming for a few smaller achievements.  Things I should have already achieved, to be honest….

  1. Decluttering : I have so much stuff.  I am always saying that but, this time, I mean it.  I have the hoard of a demented packrat and I need to get rid of stuff before it all caves in and I am swallowed up by it.  This includes my craft room which is two very short steps away from being condemned in the interest of public safety.
  2. Culling my clothes.  I have a lot of clothes but, sadly, do not have the type of body that really looks good in most of the things I own.  I keep things in the deluded hope that I will one day wake up looking like Gigi Hadid or someone equally “slim” and not middle-aged.  I also have clothes that, although they fit me ok, I have owned for more than a decade.  They have become security blankets or something equally sad.  I should probably try something new and donate/giveaway the items I was wearing in the 90s.  I’m not even kidding.
  3. My garden.  It is laughable that I am even calling it that.  It’s basically some sand with a few twigs and LOTS of weeds on it.  When I moved in, it was just sand.  But at least that sand was tidy.  I have, in my usual crappy adulting style, let it fall to wrack and ruin.  I’m sure my neighbours are appalled at this slovenly slacker who has moved in next door to them and brought down property values.  I must tackle the weeds and at least get them sorted so that it looks somewhat tidy out there.  Also, the weeds are getting so high I am frightened I might get lost in there or be attacked by some children-of-the-corn type figures.  Actually, I have never seen Children of the Corn, but I imagine there are fields of tall corn with demonic/murderous children in them.  I don’t want this to happen in my yard.  Although I am rather fond of corn.
  4. Paperwork.  I am THE WORST at filing and organising my paperwork.  I went into a panic last night because I couldn’t remember if my house is insured.  I mean, really!  Of course it is.  But do you think I could find the paperwork?  No, I could not.  So, that is something I need to be better at.  I need to file things and sort things and keep them all in one place so they are easy to access and find.  I need to shred my bank statements from 1992 and get rid of registration papers for cars that I not only no longer own, but that are probably scrap metal by now.
  5. Exercise.  I need to do some.  Not just to lose weight and look better, but because it is good for me and decreases self-loathing and will get me outside in the fresh air and amongst other human beings.  I need to learn to enjoy it.  I need to see it as “me time” rather than as a punishment.  And I need to do it every day.  Or at least five days a week.
  6. Take time to practice stuff.  I need to make scheduled time to sit and practice my drawing and painting skills.  Do the basics.  Spend a couple of hours studying up on how to draw eyes.  Or noses.  Or little pinky toes.  Until I can do it properly.  And learn to write neatly, in different fonts, so I can add that to my art work where appropriate.  My handwriting is the kind that gets ripped out of school books by disgusted teachers.  I know this because a teacher once ripped a page of my handwriting out of my school book in disgust.
  7. Get my finances in order.  I recently had some HUMONGOUS bills come in and they were very unexpected and they sent me into instant meltdown.  I do okay with money – being a tightwad helps with that – but I need to do better and keep track of things and save for unexpected bills etc.  Be a grown up, basically.
  8. Catch up with people I haven’t seen for a while.  Life is so busy and it can be months, or even years, between visits with some of my friends.  Which is not good enough.  Because I am lucky to have these awesome people in my life and I should make an effort to keep in touch with them. 
  9. Get into a better sleep routine.  At the moment, I go to bed far too late, don’t sleep very well, and then wake up horribly late in the morning.  I need to have a regular bedtime and get up when my alarm goes off, rather than making the snooze button my best friend. 
  10. Clean my house.  Seriously, I am a bit feral, as I have told you before.  I get very overwhelmed by it all sometimes and it just seems easier to ignore it.  But I am going to start being tidier and doing some form of cleaning every day, rather than letting it all pile up.  Even doing the dishes every night will be a start, and will encourage me to be tidier in other areas.  Basically, I need to stop being such a lazy arse….

Now, several weeks later, I can predictably say I did not achieve all of these things.  I tried, really I did.  But two weeks is actually not a very long time.  And things get pushed aside for other, more fun, things.  I did clean my house and it is fit for visitors and doesn’t embarrass me now.  I am doing my dishes every night (well, almost) and I put my laundry items away as soon as they’re off the line.  I even did a basket of ironing the other night!  Crazy!  But good-crazy.

I did cull a lot of my wardrobe.  Skirts that were too short or tight – gone!  Pants I can’t button up – gone!  Jumpers that are just plain ugly and make me look like some sort of sack creature – gone, gone, gone!  I also turfed (ie donated to charity) shoes I can’t walk in and belts I can’t wear unless I refrain from breathing.  I filled my car with bags and bags of stuff, including bed linens and blankets, pyjamas and underwear (un-used, let me just say).  It felt good, but I know I could have culled more if I was less of a hoarder.

Sleeping – hmm, well, I have done a bit better on that front.  I have been going to bed a bit earlier some nights and I am definitely getting up better in the morning.  I now put my alarm so far away from my bed that it is practically in another room.  I HAVE to get up and out of bed in order to switch it off.  This works 90% of the time.  Other days, I still hit that snooze button and go back to bed.  But not as often as before.  I have been having horrible nightmares again and so I am not sleeping well but, on the whole, I am doing the best I can to get a good night’s sleep.

Catching up with people – I achieved this one.  I went out for coffee and walkies and had people over to my (newly-cleaned) house.  It felt good to catch up with friends and family – I need to make more of an effort to not let the time slip by in between seeing them all.  And I need to stop being such a damn hermit.  I’ve even agreed to go out with members of the opposite sex.  Not on “dates” as such (Lord knows I am nowhere near ready for THAT) but just coffee catch-ups etc.  So I can get better at being in the company of blokes again and not be so anxious about it.  And just be out there.  Like a normal, healthy, adult human being.  Instead of some kind of spinster/loner/weirdo/hermit hybrid.

My finances are ok and the wolf at the door is having a little rest and looking less savage.  I just need to not provoke him by overspending or being unprepared for things.  Christmas is tricky because I really love to buy gifts for people and it is difficult to rein it in a little.  But I have kept to my lists and not strayed into gifting overload.

Exercise.  Um…..next!  I am a big slug.

Paperwork.  Erm.  Fail.  Actually, I did start culling it and sorting it out a bit but there is still loads of it and I can’t face it right now.  It scares me.  So it is just sitting there in piles, quietly mocking me.

Garden.  We are still dealing with a Children of the Corn scenario.  There could be anything living in there.  Tramps.  Herds of wildebeest.  Lost civilisations.  Who knows?  All I know is that it still looks bad and now the weather is heating up, I am even more inclined to just ignore it and hope it dies off by itself.  I repotted plants and got rid of some that were really not going to make it.  I did do a little bit of weeding but it was a bit pathetic and half-hearted, to be honest.  Lots of sighing and whinging about my aching back.  I’m sure you can picture it.  Let’s move on.

Practicing my drawing and writing skills.  Um, no.  This did not happen.  Another fail.

Decluttering.  I actually did get some stuff out of the house, which is an achievement for Miss Hoardypants.  I had to think “Will I ever use this?  Does it fit in with my life/house/values/décor?  Will I miss the darn thing if I get rid of it?”  And, more often than not, the answer was a resounding “No”.  But it is still hard though.

It’s funny how most people have time off of work and they think about travel and relaxing and maybe seeing some movies or doing lots of shopping.  Me, I use my time for mundane things like folding towels and repotting my plants.  But hey, that’s ok, right? 

Hope you are having a happy, uncluttered day – thank you for stopping by 🙂

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Nourish (Because Sometimes Doorknobs Just Fall Off)

It’s late at night.  You’re hungry.  You know you shouldn’t raid the pantry but to hell with diets and the whole “don’t eat after 8pm at night” nonsense (what am I, a gremlin?).  Time to check out what snacks are available to us.  

Enter kitchen.  Attempt to open pantry door.  Door knob falls off in hand – DISASTER! 

What can you do?  a.) Forget about the whole thing and go to bed, sad and unsatisfied?  b.) Try the fridge instead?  c.) Rummage through your handbag to see if there’s a long-forgotten mint or something?  d.) Wrench the pantry door open with a knife and vow to put a new door knob on tomorrow?  If you answered “all of the above except A”, you’d be correct.  Let’s face it, A was never an option. 

My house has many features that are, through age or just crappy design, falling off/breaking down/not performing so well.  Doorknobs are one example.  I’ve replaced several now in different rooms but, for the kitchen, decided to go with something a bit more jazzy.  I probably shouldn’t draw attention to my pantry (it’s not like I’m not VERY FAMILIAR with it already!) but I wanted to do this little project and not have to open the door with a knife 🙂

These little wooden doorknobs are currently available at Kmart, in Australia, for $1.00 each.  One dollar!  I do not want to know where the materials were sourced from at such a price – it would probably hurt my brain.  They had different shaped ones too, but I bought the regular round one.  I collaged on various scraps of patterned papers and washi tape, then (using a stencil I had made) draw on a heart shape.  I then painted the doorknob all over in blue, leaving out the heart-shaped area.  Details were added with permanent black pencil, a white paint pen and a bit of stamped text.  The whole thing was sealed and varnished and voila!  It was done.  (It looks a bit “cloudy” in places because I had literally just finished sealing it so nothing had dried before I took the photo).  I sanded back the edges slightly too, just to give a bit of extra detail.

So, an easy, inexpensive little decorator project that could be applied to lots of furniture and household items.  I’m still thinking I should have stamped “DO NOT ENTER” instead of “NOURISH” on my doorknob, but I will try and have some willpower of my own, instead of expecting inanimate objects to guide me and tell me what to do (or, in this case, what NOT to do) when I get the midnight munchies.

🙂

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Home

What do you love about your home?  For me it is cosiness.  I don’t like big, open plan homes with lots of space and sparse furnishings – they seem very cold and unfriendly to me.  There are times when I wish I could be more Spartan in my decorating style and live in a less cluttered space, but that wouldn’t be me and I wouldn’t feel as comfortable.  I like colour and pattern.  I like being surrounded by things that are special to me, or have been gifted to me by someone I love.  My home isn’t very sophisticated or adult looking.  I have nice artworks, but then they are, quite often, accompanied by something silly or incongruous.  I have lots of vintage items, but then they’re sitting with something from Kmart or a discount store.  I don’t care – it’s whatever makes you happy, right?

My house is small.  But that’s ok.  My hoarding habits are probably better being contained anyway 🙂  But I do like cosy.  I like to feel cocooned.  I like to feel safe and enclosed.  I like to look around the room and see all my “precious things” – they have memories attached to them and they’re important to me, even if they’re not “on-trend” or matching or stylish.  I have started culling a little bit – as much as I like my stuff, even I have to concede that I do have a lot of junk.  But if something has a real emotional pull – I keep it.  It’s there, in my life, for a reason.

So, what makes a house a home, to me…..

  1. Colour.  I like white – I really do – but I would always pair it with lots of bright colour.  Shabby-chic white I love – because it’s distressed and homely and paired with lots of pretty colour, wood finishes and interesting textures.  But stark white, I can’t do.  Plus it shows up dirt too easily ha ha.
  2. Plants.  I am not a great gardener, as I have pointed out before.  But I do like lots of plants around the place.  Greenery is good.  As long as it stays green 🙂
  3. Soft furnishings.  I like a cushion or two.  Embroidered tablecloths.  Throw rugs and patchwork quilts.  Especially when they’re handmade ones.  Curtains I can take or leave – at the moment I am stuck with the ones that came with the house – but I HATE vertical blinds with a passion.  Unfortunately, I have those too.  They will be going as soon as I can afford to get rid of them.
  4. Candles.  I definitely have a bit of a pyromaniac streak.  But I love the soft light they give (hey, I’m in my 40s – I need all the soft lighting I can get!) and they create such a nice ambience.  I love the fragranced ones – vanilla, berry and gingerbread are my favourites.  My house always smells like cookies.
  5. Books.  I am a bit ridiculous with books.  I have LOADS.  But I just love having them around me.  A house without books is not a home. For me, anyway.
  6. Pets. This is one aspect that I am currently lacking in.  It’s so sad.  For most of my life I was surrounded by animals.  Now I don’t even have a budgie or a goldfish.  I am working on getting cats though.  One day (in my fantasy world) I will have a  property large enough for geese and dogs and rabbits and chickens, cows, and sheep again.  One day.
  7. Art.  Whether it be a family heirloom worth thousands, or a cute crayon scribble created by a special munchkin in your life, it’s important to have art around the place.  Things that inspire you or just make you smile.
  8. Music.  I always have music playing.  I have to have at least the radio on when I’m cooking or creating.  It helps to block the world out and focus you inward.  Plus, I like to sing.  I would die if anyone else heard me, but it is one of life’s joys, having a sing-a-long to a favourite tune.  As long as the neighbours don’t complain, it’s all good.
  9. Nooks.  I nearly bought a house last year purely because it had a reading nook with a balcony overlooking the garden.  Oh I loved it.  But I did not like the neighbourhood or the low popcorn ceiling (ugh!) or the ugly dark grey carpet (I was never sure if it had originally been grey or not…).  I really struggled to let go of that reading nook though – it was glorious.  I’m still dreaming about it now.  I would have spent my life in there, snoozing in the sunshine or pondering the Universe.  Sigh.  But nooks are important.  Every home should have a cosy little corner somewhere.  A place you automatically go to recharge and recoup.
  10. Photos.  I think it’s important to have photos in your home.  Family photos, travel photos, childhood photos – they’re all important.  They remind you where you’ve come from and where you’re going.

Most of all, your home should be a place of sanctuary and security.  It should be the place you feel happy to fall asleep in.  The place you can’t wait to get to at the end of the day.  Granted, I am a bit of a hermit, and I probably spend more time at home than most people.  Because I need lots of me time and space, anti-social wench that I am 🙂

My seven-year-old niece had a sleepover at my place on the weekend.  She slept with me (much more fun than sharing with Daddy – he snores!) and although I copped a few kicks to the back during the night, it was nice to share my space with that precious little person.  Having her be comfortable and feel secure with me is what home is really about.  I want my home to feel cosy and welcoming to everyone who visits me.  Especially the little ones.  That is way more important to me than having the most expensive furniture or crockery that matches my napkins.  Because home, most of all, should be about family – whatever family means to you.

Hope your home is a happy place today and always.

x

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Antler

Forgot to post this before Christmas…  Just another ornament thingy I made for my handmade stall in December.  I had made a few of the baubles and wanted some less glittery versions, that could maybe serve as all-year-round decorations.  So, I found these lovely little ceramic antlers in Target and thought they would be perfect for embellishing.

I used, as always, recycled beads from old jewellery, including some rather tarnished and battered metallic ones that I really liked the look of.  There are also polished stone, clay, and wooden ones in the mix.  Strung onto some beading wire, attached to the antler and voila!  I was pretty happy with it and kept one for myself (which is now hanging on my wall next to my faux stag head). The ornament itself only cost $2.40 and I used beads I already had in my ridiculously large stash, so it was a pretty cheap creation all round.

Hope your day is a happy one – thank you for stopping in.

x

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How to Measure Christmas

Christmas Day is just around the corner.  I can’t believe how quickly it has come up this year.  I probably say that every year, but this last twelve months has whizzed by, and so much has happened.  It’s been such a strange, disturbing year, with a lot of loss and grief for so many people.  I don’t know about you, but I am praying for a much kinder 2017.

My Mum is currently suffering with a nasty cough/virus and it makes me very anxious.  I can’t bear for her to be ill.  She is always so healthy and I sometimes forget she is a senior now, and small illnesses can be potentially dangerous.  Also, being sick at Christmas sucks!  I know she feels miserable and concerned and also annoyed that she can’t do a lot – she hates neglecting her garden and other chores.  I just worry incessantly, especially as I am not just around the corner but 30 minutes drive away, and I can’t keep a close eye on her.  Luckily, my best friend’s Mum is just around the corner – in fact, she is taking Mum to the doctor’s this morning (I would have done but had no one to cover me at work). Hopefully she will get some antibiotics (even though she hates taking them, she admits she probably needs some this time) and be on the mend soon.  We’re meant to be spending Christmas Eve with my brother and his family, but I don’t know if she will be well enough at this stage 😦

It’s funny how, in the lead up to Christmas, you think about all the things you would like, and hope that Santa obliges.  This year, I just want my Mum to be well, and for us all to have a nice, peaceful, stress-free time together, with no dramas.

This week, I managed to get all my Christmas shopping done in record time.  I have less people to buy for this year, for one reason or another, and it made it much easier.  I made a few gifts too, which meant less spending (always a good thing) and less stress (a very good thing).  I also decided not to do the fancy wrapping I always do, which usually ends up with me stressed out of my brain and wrapping gifts every night until midnight, making sure they all fit a “theme” and all look decorative and pretty.  Not this year.  I used store-bought wrapping paper and did nothing fancier than tying them with string.  I didn’t even use matching tags!  *gasps*  It just made everything so much easier and quicker and reduced my stress by about a million percent.  I am wrapped and done, ahead of time.

Whilst looking for gifts for my Mum, I pretty much followed the list she had given me (an Ian Rankin book, some gardening stuff, a Michael Buble CD, pyjamas) but I always like to get her some other little extras too, so she has some surprises.  I found this set of measuring cups in an op-shop and thought she might like them.  They look vintage (although I suspect they are not) and I liked the little Wintery scene on them, which I thought would also make them ideal for Christmas decorating, if Mum didn’t want to use them as actual measuring cups.  I just thought they were sweet.  And at $5.00 for the three, I wasn’t exactly breaking the bank.

I hope she likes them, and is well enough to enjoy all of her presents.
That’s all I want for Christmas.

Best wishes to you all.  Stay well and take care of each other x

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Beaded Bauble

Every surface in my house is currently buried under a pile of card, paper, bottles of glue, mounting tape, marker pens and ink.  So what would any sensible person do?  Tidy up?  Sort some things into neat piles?  Put everything away before starting something new?  Ha!  I scoff at your suggestions!  I am not sensible in any shape or form, so yesterday I decided to add to the mess by doing some beaded decorations inspired by some I had seen on Kelly Rae Roberts’ Instagram account.  I thought they were really lovely, and easy to do (the hardest part is choosing the beads) and wouldn’t take much time.

I bought some pretty glass baubles last week (they were on sale – bargain!) and chose some beads from my ridiculously large supply at home.  I went with blues, silvers and pearls for this one.  You simply bead a length of jewellery wire (the end looped and crimped through the loop on the bauble) and then loop and crimp the other end so it can be hung from whatever you want to hang it from!

KRR had hers hanging from a chandelier, but you could dangle one of these from a curtain rod (hanging in the window, catching the light) or from your Christmas tree, or decorating the banisters of a staircase.  I’ve seen them hooked on to drawer knobs on a dresser and hanging outside a front door from porch lights.  Lots of options.  They would make a quick and easy gift too.  I’m going to try and get some more finished before I move on to another messy project (might as well cover the entire house is chaos!).

Hope your day is shiny and bright 🙂

 

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